Friday, April 21, 2006

Games and education (1)

During the last few days I have been working on the new edition of the Content Market Monitor during. It was interesting to produce this edition and send it to 2100 free subscribers in 100 countries. Every week new subscribers still register themselves to receive the monthly newsletter in their mailbox. I hope the articles yield some sparks for new ideas.

After such an intensive job, it good to be among the people again and I got a good chance yesterday. One of the first arts and media colleges in the Netherlands HKU KMT in Hilversum had organised a conference on serious games and education. The programme was divided in four parts:
- the new generation;
- serious games;
- games and e-learning;
- workshops.

The first lecture by Wim Veen, professor at the Technical University in Delft, was entitled Homo Zappiens, the zapping man. It focussed on the new generation of computer users and students. They play games, communicate 24/7, have virtual friends, read never a manual and have rather a subscription on a mobile than on a newspaper. It is the generation that leaves school and straight away takes his/her mobile to continue the talk. And when he/she sms, they have their own language.

This new generation differs from the 35+ generation. The 35+ generation has been educated with books (analogue media) and works in a linear way. But the new generation has other skills: a non-linear approach, iconic skills, multi-tasking and discontinuous information processing. In their multi-tasking they regulate the information streams simultaneously. Through different media (TV, radio, iPOD, internet) they search for the core of the message.

The homo zappiens becomes a creative problem solver, an experienced communicator, a self steering thinker and digital thinker. Yet the present schools are still working in an analogue and linear way. They are basically diploma factories. But for the homo zappiens learning changes to inquisitive learning, network learning, learning by experience, collaborative learning and solving problems. Knowing data by heart is not enough any longer as digital and multimedia data are tools to produce new data. The homo zappiens uses the menu, keywords, search terms and tags. It is not the fun of the game, but the challenge, creativity and self-confidence.

So the question is not whether schools should adopt games as tools for e-learning, but how can we do this with a generation of teachers above 35+ and a generation of users (not pupils) born with a mobile and grown up with games.

Tags: ,

No comments: